RICHMOND-- Gov. McDonnell has always been a darling of Virginia conservatives, but now he's defending himself.
McDonnell is being lashed with criticism from the right over the historic transportation plan which passed last week, putting nearly $1 billion a year toward roads.
It's been touted as a bipartisan home run, but conservative groups are calling foul on a plan that raises taxes, and their tempers.
The plan replaces the 17.5 cent per gallon tax on gas with a 3.5% tax that will keep up with the pace of inflation.
It also raises the state sales tax to 5.3% with congested areas like Hampton roads paying a little more.
McDonnell says without Republicans in the general assembly, the plan never would have passed. 44 Republicans voted for it and 43 Democrats.
McDonnell is also defending a $100 annual fee for hybrid car owners. Many feel they're being punished for protecting the environment.
'If you don't pay any federal gas tax, and you don't pay any state gas tax, then you're using the roads and you're essentially using them without paying for them,' said McDonnell.
Jamie Radtke, co-founder of the Virginia Tea Party, says she's always had a good relationship with the governor, but says she's shocked by the transportation plan.
'I'm absolutely shocked and appalled by this $6 billion tax increase for transportation and 45% of the funding is not even dedicated to roads,' said Radtke.
There's even a 'No tax increase' Facebook page with more than 2000 likes.
'I would say for the last three years, I've done everything as governor, to do everything I can, to be able to fix this problem. We've cut spending to 2007 levels,' said McDonnell.
The criticism is not stopping McDonnell from patting himself on the back for what he says is an historic accomplishment.
'My job is to fix problems and everybody in Hampton Roads knows infrastructure is a huge problem,' said McDonnell.